January 24, 2020

Why do we need sleep?

No, really, Why do we need sleep?

Why do we need sleep? Comprehensive Primary Care

Have you ever thought about how much you could get done if your body didn’t need sleep? Or maybe you’re one of those people who believe you can function well off of only five hours of sleep. Or, perhaps you fall in the camp of people who need to work two jobs to make ends meet and all you can get is four or five hours of sleep a night.

No matter what your situation is, every human body out there needs sleep. And not just a few hours. We’re talking about healthy, adequate sleep. Now we’re sure you’ve all had some friend or relative harping on you to make sure you’re getting your eight hours. But, are they just repeated soundbites they’ve heard on some talk show or old news report? How do you know that the data and science is accurate? What if you really are able to function properly on just a few hours of sleep?

The truth is, we’ve had a lot of this data for years. It’s scientifically proven and the medical community is only becoming more and more convicted about how import sleep is for the human body. You may think you are fine on just those few hours of sleep. And in the short term, you might actually be. You’ll continue to say, “Look at me. I only get four hours a sleep a night and I don’t have any problems.”

But, to quote Top Gun, “Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”

Despite what you think, it is absolutely vital to get eight hours of sleep each night.

Why Do We Need Sleep?

While our very own Christina Finnerty is an expert herself on sleep, we’ll hear more from her later on. Let’s first ask Dr. Matthew Walker. Oh, you haven’t heard of him? Here’s a modest introduction:

Matthew Walker is a British scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on the impact of sleep on human health and disease. Before his role at UC Berkeley, he was a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. On top of all that, he is the founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science. He has received a number of awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, as well as being a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. He has published more than 100 scientific research studies and has been featured on numerous television and radio outlets, including 60 Minutes, National Geographic, NOVA, The Joe Rogan ExperienceNPR, and the BBC.

Watch his full interview with Joe Rogan below.

Let’s get back to the matter at hand. Why do we need sleep?

According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep is an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs. Exactly how this happens and why our bodies are programmed for such a long period of slumber is still somewhat of a mystery. But scientists do understand some of sleep’s critical functions, and the reasons we need it for optimal health and wellbeing.

One of the most important roles of sleep is to help us solidify and consolidate memories. Throughout the day our brains take in an incredible amount of information. Rather than being directly logged and recorded, these facts and experiences first need to be processed and stored. Much of this occurs while we sleep. Overnight, bits and pieces of information are transferred from more tentative, short-term memory to stronger, long-term memory through consolidation. Researchers have also shown that after people sleep, they tend to retain information and perform better on memory tasks. Everyone’s body requires long periods of sleep in order to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.

Now, How Much Sleep Do We Need?

Healthy sleep is critical for every human being. We all need to retain information and learn new skills and proper sleep is paramount to being able to do those things. This is likely why children need more sleep than adults. They acquire language, social, and motor skills at an extremely rapid pace throughout their development. Adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Compare that to a one-year-old, who needs roughly 11-14 hours of sleep per night. School-aged children need 9-11 hours while teenagers need between 8-10 hours each night.

However, human beings cannot rack up sleep deprivation and then log a bunch of hours of sleep to make up for it. It’s called “sleep debt” and you just can’t pay it back. The best sleep habits are consistent, healthy routines that allow us to meet our sleep needs every night and stay on top of our daily tasks and challenges.

Christina’s Philosophy

Whether it’s understanding if you suffer from sleep apnea and are in need of a sleep study, or it’s learning how high-quality sleep can help prevent breast cancer, Christina Finnerty is passionate about sleep.

Below are some recommendations from Christina on how to get better sleep:

  • Create a sleep routine
  • Allot 20-30 minutes before bedtime to time to prepare for sleep
  • Absolutely no phones, tablets, or TV while in bed
  • If you’re having trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and try again a bit later

Read Christina’s full article here on our website.

The reason sleep is so important to the human body is because the damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant. It can manifest itself in terrible things such as a car crash or other physical accidents. Or, it can harm you over time without you noticing it as much. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also affects how well you think, react, work, & learn.

So, why do we need sleep?

We need sleep because it’s absolutely essential to our daily function and health as human beings. Does it need to be any more clear than that?

Posted in Blog, Sleep by Comprehensive Primary Care of Idaho Falls | Tags: , , ,
November 21, 2019

With the year coming to an end, we recommend you review your health checklist and see what needs to be done before the new year begins. Whether it is your annual health exam, health goals, sleep wellness, or any other aspect of your health, they are all important. We created an end of the year health checklist for you to be sure you are meeting all your health needs. We also want to ensure that you’re taking advantage of all your health benefits that are offered through insurance.

1. Up-To-Date Vaccinations

Are you up to date on your vaccinations? The flu is particularly relevant near the end of the year, but other shots need to be boosted periodically as well. Those can include the TDAP, MMR booster, Tetanus booster, and more. Schedule an appointment with us and we can discuss a plan for which vaccinations you may need and when you are due for them. This is an essential part of your end-of-year health checklist as many adults often forget about their own vaccines.

2. Maximize Insurance Benefits

Have you taken advantage of all your insurance benefits? If you have met your deductible for the year, the end of the year is the perfect time to complete several of your checkups or health visits. Once your deductible is met, most procedures or appointments are at a low cost or free to you. Check with your insurance providers to see what they offer in terms of your yearly deductible and insurance coverage. Benefits can include Flex Dollars and HSA (health savings accounts). Often times consumers are unaware of all the benefits offered through their provider.

3. Annual Wellness Exam


Have you had your annual wellness exam? Individuals should complete a wellness exam once every year. So, if you haven’t had one yet, now is the time to schedule an appointment before the year ends. Many insurance policies include a provision for an annual checkup. In fact, a preventative screening wellness visit is free under insurance coverage. You have no excuse to not get one.

4. Proper Sleep Schedule


How are you sleeping? As the days grow shorter, many people find themselves sleeping longer and more often, while others may notice that they are restless or wake up consistently throughout the night. Sleep is extremely vital to maintaining your physical and mental health, as your body works to restore itself during sleep. Not getting enough quality sleep can lead to more serious health issues, so it is important to keep that in mind. If you’re not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep, you can speak with our sleep specialist, Christina Finnerty, who can work with you to identify the causes of your restless nights. Sleep health and hygiene is truly Christina’s passion!

5. Take Care of Family

Are your loved ones taken care of? In the business of life, especially near the end of the year, it can be easy to have our own health taken care of while forgetting to see how our family is doing with their yearly checkups. Many of them may not be as informed on how beneficial regular checkups are. Also, you may have family that doesn’t even have a primary care provider. In that case, you can help them decide the best way to choose a family doctor. As you visit your family for the holidays, you can check in on them and remind them of the importance of seeing their primary care providers.

6. Make “Healthy” Goals

What are your health goals and how are you working toward them? With the new year coming up, now is the best time to evaluate your health goals and how you have treated your body this year. You can speak with one of our dietitians or physical therapists to make new goals to help you be even healthier in the next year.

Your Health Checklist


We hope this checklist will help remind you of the importance of maintaining your health for the present and future. If you have not completed any of these this year, we encourage you to make an appointment with us today so we can help you with the services you may need. You are also free to call us at (208) 715-9990. Watch any of our videos for quick tips and tricks regarding simple health concerns.

Posted in Community Care, Primary Care, Sleep by Comprehensive Primary Care of Idaho Falls | Tags: , ,
1 November 20, 2019

Have you woken up feeling like you haven’t gotten enough sleep? Do you feel an extra weight on your body from exhaustion? Is your health taking a little bit of a turn for the worse? Well then maybe it’s time that you consider the possibility of doing a sleep study?

What Is A Sleep Study?

Sleep Study - Comprehensive Primary Care and Wellness

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a sleep study simply allows a trained physician to determine what is going on while you sleep. While you sleep, doctors can monitor things such as breathing patterns, movement, etc. 

In addition, doctors can attach electrodes to your head and body to help monitor what is going on beneath the surface. Things that we cannot normally see, such as rapid eye movement, heart rate, oxygen levels, along with several other aspects are monitored to help determine what exactly is happening while you are counting sheep.

If you are interested in learning more about the specifics of what happens during a sleep study, you can check out this video from John Hopkins Medicine.

How Can Comprehensive Primary Care & Wellness Help?

Christina Finnerty, a certified family nurse practitioner here at Comprehensive Primary Care & Wellness Center in Idaho Falls, is a specialist on sleep and optimal wellness. She conducts sleep studies to help patients to have more restful nights.

One of the biggest causes of restless sleep could in fact be sleep apnea. Finnerty explains that many times the cause of sleep apnea could be caused by the tongue falling into the back of the throat effectively “decreasing the oxygen level” while you sleep. One of the biggest indicators that someone may have sleep apnea could actually be snoring.

Now you might be thinking, “Snoring? Really? But people tell me that I snore all the time? Does that mean I have sleep apnea?” Don’t start panicking just yet! Finnerty explains that many times snoring can be associated with things such as a deviated septum or nasal polyp. However, there is the chance that it could in fact be sleep apnea. And many people may think that sleep apnea isn’t something to be concerned about, but they would be wrong.

Why Should I Be Concerned About Sleep Apnea & Other Sleep Disorders?

Sleep Study GraphicFinnerty explains how sleep apnea can actually be related to a lot more serious issues later down the road, such as:

  • Heart Attacks
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Pain
  • Depression 
  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s
  • ADD

Sleep disorders are no laughing matter. Nor are they something that you should ignore and hit the snooze button on. If you are concerned or are experiencing any sleep problems yourself go and check out Comprehensive Primary Care & Wellness Center in Idaho Falls and learn more about getting a sleep study performed.

To watch or listen to Christina explain more about sleep apnea, sleep habits, and sleep masks, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about how we conduct our sleep studies, contact us at 208-715-9990 or you can submit a form on our website.

Posted in Sleep by Comprehensive Primary Care of Idaho Falls | Tags: , ,
October 23, 2019

During breast cancer awareness month it’s a good time to educate ourselves on ways to reduce the risk of contracting breast cancer (or any cancer). Christina Finnerty explains how deep restorative sleep is important to this.

The Relationship Between Cancer & Sleep

The relationship between cancer prevention and good sleep is synergistic. Getting the proper sleep can do wonders for your overall health, including cancer prevention.

“I don’t think that most people realize that sleep is directly related to cancer,” says Finnerty. “If you snore, if your partner snores, if somebody tells you that you’re not breathing at night or there are pauses in breathing. If you wake up in a panic and your heart is racing and you feel like maybe you weren’t breathing. Of if you wake up not rested in the morning and you’re just exhausted and you don’t know why. It’s really important to come in a talk to somebody at least about the possibility of sleep apnea.”

One of the reasons our bodies cannot get rid of the cancer cells they have is if they’re not getting into good, deep, restorative sleep. One of the things that can impair that is stress or restless leg syndrome. But, a big one is obstructive sleep apnea. Most people avoid wanting to know if they have obstructive sleep apnea. However, one of the big reasons to see if you do have it would be to potentially avoid multiple different types of cancers, including breast cancer.

The reason sleep apnea can be directly related to breast cancer is because when you sleep at night your airway is obstructed and your oxygen levels drop. If your oxygen levels drop, that is immediately stressing your body out and not allowing it to enter into what’s called slow-wave sleep. Slow-wave sleep is the only stage of sleep in which our bodies heal and repair. If you’re body is not getting that type of deep, restorative sleep, you’re not able to detoxify, get rid of old cells, and your immunity decreases. As a result, you have an exponentially higher risk of developing multiple different types of cancers, including breast cancer.

What Is Deep Restorative Sleep?

Exposure to high levels of oxygen encourages the brain to remain in deep, restorative sleep, according to a study by University of Alberta neuroscientists.

This type of sleep seems to be the stage where metabolites are cleared from the brain, muscles grow, and proteins reform. Slow-wave sleep is the best recovery for both the brain and body. It can also help greatly with memory consolidation. Research has shown that the brain remains in active sleep when exposed to less than normal levels of oxygen

Sleep Apnea Masks

Most people are afraid of putting a CPAP mask on or using the machine at all. However, we hope to show the types of sleep masks someone would wear if they’re being treated for sleep apnea and we want to dispel any fear regarding them. We also hope to encourage you to visit with a specialist if you aren’t getting good sleep. It’s such a massive part of our daily lives and can impact your health in so many ways.

nasal sleep mask Prevent Cancer With Deep Restorative Sleep 1

The nasal mask is small and fits right under the nose with the headgear strap that goes around your head. You do not need to worry about looking like Darth Vader or a fighter pilot with the nasal mask.

Prevent Cancer With Deep Restorative Sleep 2 Prevent Cancer With Deep Restorative Sleep 3

The full face mask is not nearly as scary as it sounds. It’s very easy to get on and off with magnetic attaching straps and it just goes under the nose and around the mouth.

Sleep Matters

In conclusion, the type of sleep you’re getting truly matters in regards to your overall health. The better, deeper sleep you can get, the less likely you will run into illnesses and diseases including cancer. If you would like to have a sleep study performed or visit with our sleep specialist, give us a call (208-715-9990) or submit a contact form right here on our site.

Posted in Community Care, Sleep by Comprehensive Primary Care of Idaho Falls | Tags: , , , , ,
3 October 10, 2019

It’s that nagging question in the back of your mind that you’re not sure you want the answer to. “Do I have sleep apnea?”

Whether you feel groggy and fatigued on a full night’s rest or you wake yourself up with your snoring, you probably wonder what’s wrong. People often leap immediately to worst case scenarios and think they have sleep apnea. However, that’s not always the case. We hope that this post can inform and educate enough to decide whether or not you need a sleep study. The good news is that we have a local expert on hand, our very own Christina Finnerty.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you might have sleep apnea. There are three main types of the condition:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: The most common form that occurs when throat muscles relax and the tongue can obstruct the airway.
  • Central sleep apnea: Occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome: Also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. This occurs when someone has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Why Should I Get A Sleep Study?

Christina Finnerty of Comprehensive Primary Care & Wellness Center in Idaho Falls explains some of the causes of sleep apnea and why you should get a sleep study if you suspect you may have sleep apnea.

“Some people say that they snore very loudly but they don’t have any daytime issues so why should they actually get it treated? And one of the reasons it’s really important to know if it’s snoring or obstructive sleep apnea is that you can’t tell by listening to somebody. So, if somebody snores very loudly it could just be a cosmetic issue like a deviated septum, nasal polyps, or maybe allergies. But, if it’s actually a crowded airway where the tongue is falling back into the back of the airway and your oxygen level is dropping at night, there’s a direct correlation with the following: heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, insulin resistance, pain, depression, cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, and more. Sleep is really, really important and maintaining adequate oxygen levels is also important. That’s why sleep studies are so important.”

Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which would be reported by another person
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability

What To Expect From A Sleep Study

To better understand your sleep problem, we will ask you about your sleep habits and about your personal routine and habits. Your work and exercise routines, if you use caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, or any medicines (including over-the-counter medicines). We recommend that you keep a sleep diary for a couple of weeks. Write down when you go to sleep, wake up, and take naps. Also, write down how much you sleep each night, how alert and rested you feel in the morning, as well as how sleepy you feel at various times during the day.

Some sleep disorders are able to be diagnosed by asking questions about sleep schedules and habits. However, others may require the results from a sleep study and other medical tests. Sleep studies allow us to measure how much and how well you sleep. They also help show whether you have sleep problems and how severe they are. Sleep is incredibly important to your overall physical and mental health. We want to help ensure that you’re living your best life. Read more about sleep quality here.

Schedule Your Sleep Study Today

If you’ve wondered whether or not you have sleep apnea, schedule a time to visit with us. The sooner you tackle this issue the better. Your long term health can greatly benefit from improving your sleep. Call us today at 208-715-9990.

Posted in Sleep by Comprehensive Primary Care of Idaho Falls | Tags: , , , ,